A comparative study of oral/dental health status in an urban poor population over 100 years

Katherine F Karioris Schrubbe, Marquette University


Statement of the problem/purpose . Profound and substantial oral health disparities exist in certain population groups, especially those of low socioeconomic status (SES). The purpose of this study was to create a database of oral/dental health status in an urban poor population pre-existing modern day preventive and restorative techniques to be used as a reference for comparison to a current population of similar SES. Materials and methods . Decayed (D), missing (M) and filled (F) teeth, or DMFT, along with additional oral/dental anomalies and pathology defined by International Classification of Disease (ICD9) codes were used to assess and compare the overall oral/dental health status of two urban poor population groups approximately 100 years apart (random samples of 100 adult skeletal remains from an urban poor Euro-American population interned 1882-1925 and 103 adults from the Madre Angela Dental Clinic in Milwaukee). Panoramic radiographs were utilized for coding of conditions/pathologies. Results . The mean for decayed teeth in the skeletal group was 2.27 ± 2.20 compared to 4.34 ± 4.82 for the clinical group, demonstrating statistical significance (p < 0.001). The mean for missing teeth in the skeletal group was 8.85 ± 7.79 compared to 9.85 ± 8.53 for the clinical group, demonstrating no statistical significance (p = 0.383). The mean for filled teeth in the skeletal group was 0.30 ± 1.32 compared to 2.99 ± 3.98 for the clinical group, also statistically significant (p < 0.001). Analysis of ICD9 coding demonstrated statistical significance between groups for supernumerary teeth, abnormalities in size/form, disturbances in eruption, calcifications within the pulp, periapical abscesses, chronic periodontitis, anomalies of tooth position, and unspecified jaw diseases. Conclusions . The DMFT and new ICD9 coding systems can be utilized for analysis and comparative evaluation of general oral/dental health status in population groups. The combined coding system may serve as a reference for designing programs and interventions to improve oral health. Over the last century, the incidence of partial anodontia, caries and periodontitis continue to be high in populations with low SES. The incidence of periapical pathology and disturbances in eruption has increased. The data suggests that oral health status of poor population groups has not significantly improved despite numerous advances in preventive and restorative dentistry.

Subject Area

Dental care,Public health,Cultural anthropology

Recommended Citation

Schrubbe, Katherine F Karioris, "A comparative study of oral/dental health status in an urban poor population over 100 years" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3172504.